The Long Afterlives of Cold War Violence

Friday, January 4, 2019: 4:10 PM
Chicago Room (Palmer House Hilton)
Colleen Woods, University of Maryland, College Park
By May 2017, within his first year in office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” unleashed a wave of extra-judicial killings that has claimed an upward of 8,000 lives. Human rights observers and the international press that have focused their attention on the islands have argued that, in fact, the “war on drugs” encompasses a range of targeted extra-judicial killings including the murder of labor leaders and “farmer-activists.” Unraveling the causes of present-day forms of state violence demands an interrogation of the contemporary political context. However, extra-judicial violence is not new to the Philippines and, despite the fact the Cold War is over, anti-communism remains a potent feature of Philippine politics. As historian Gilbert Joseph has argued in regards to Latin America, the Philippines, like other nations that were long-subject to U.S. intervention continually experience the historical outgrowths of Cold-War-era politics through the “bubbling up” of extrajudicial violence. Using the U.S. and Philippine relationship as a case study, this paper will explore the early Cold War anti-communist origins and the post-Cold War anti-communist afterlives of extra-judicial violence.
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